Oral Histories

Quitkin, Frederic

Biographical Sketch:

In collaboration with colleagues, Frederic Quitkin's clinical research delineated the specific syndrome of atypical depression, now accepted by the official diagnostic nomenclature. These studies showed for the first time that rational selection of an antidepressant medication was possible based on clinical features.
After graduating from Princeton University and the State University of New York Health Science Center at Brooklyn, better known as Downstate Medical Center, Fred Quitkin began his career in psychiatric research at Hillside Hospital. Mentored in psychiatric research by Donald F Klein MD, with whom he formed a lifelong collaboration, he focused on discovering and evaluating rational treatments for depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and schizophrenia. This partnership produced the innovative text, Diagnosis and Drug treatment of Psychiatric Disorders, with Rachel Klein PhD and Arthur Rifkin MD. After receiving his Doctor of Medical Science Degree at Downstate, he continued pioneering work in psychopharmacology by describing the social and cognitive deficits of patients with schizophrenia. Dr Quitkin's pioneering report of subtle neurologic impairments in people with schizophrenia was dramatically ahead of its time, showing that what was then thought to be a disorder psychologically induced by defective parenting, was actually the result of disordered structure and function in the central nervous system. He documented the destructive effects of long-term hospitalization for nonpsychotic psychiatric disorders and the often dramatic therapeutic benefits of the revolutionary new medications for psychiatric illness.

Moving to the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University in 1977, he continued his dynamic research efforts by forming the Depression Evaluation Service, dedicated to research in depressive disorders.

Quitkin, Frederic
Topical Index:

Interview History:

Dates: 1-Dec
Interviewer: T.Ban



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